POPE FRANCIS - A HERETIC? ON THE PUNISHMENT OF HERETICS AND ESPECIALLY OF THE POPE WHO HAS BECOME A HERETIC WILLIAM OF OCKHAM Dial. 6 CHP. XX
President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Pope Francis
Student: It appears that you have very many arguments in support of the assertion we are discussing, therefore do not accumulate arguments any further, but kindly investigate how one ought to respond on the basis of the assertion we are reviewing to a certain objection which I will be making against the aforesaid. Here it is. It seems that all of the stated arguments are inconclusive, because a pope who definitively proclaims that the Christian law is false must without any doubt be included among the unbelievers. And the faithful must not appeal from an unbeliever, for nowhere does one read that the holy martyrs appealed from unbelieving judges when they were being pressured to deny the faith, nor did the apostles appeal against the high priests when the latter had rendered a sentence against the faith. Therefore catholics must not appeal from a pope who definitively proclaims that the Christian faith is false.
Master: A double response may be given to this objection. The first is that it is not absolutely necessary to appeal from a pope who renders an unjust sentence against the faith. This is why we find that many believers failed to appeal against unbelievers and heretics. For in many cases it is sufficient to simply oppose, detest and abhor a sentence rendered against the faith by the pope or by someone else, just as the holy fathers used Holy Writ to oppose the unjust assertions of heretics without bothering to appeal. Nevertheless, from time to time it is expedient to issue an appeal, following the example of blessed Paul who appealed to Caesar.
Student: It does not appear that blessed Paul appealed for a cause of faith, but rather for other crimes that were being falsely imputed to him by the Jews. Therefore one cannot use the example of blessed Paul to prove that it is expedient to appeal from a heretic pope for a cause of faith.
Master: It appears to some that blessed Paul did appeal for a cause of faith, and that this is something that can be proved from various passages in the Acts of the Apostles. Thus in chapter 23 (as we read it) here is what the tribune Claudius wrote to the governor Felix concerning Paul: "this man was taken of the Jews, and should have been killed of them: then came I with an army, and rescued him, having understood that he was a Roman. And when I would have known the cause wherefore they accused him, I brought him forth into their council: whom I perceived to be accused of questions of their law, but to have nothing laid to his charge worthy of death or of bonds". [Acts 23:27-29] One gathers from these words that the issue in argument between the Jews and Paul concerned a cause of faith. And it is for this cause that Paul subsequently appealed, therefore he appealed to Caesar about a cause of faith. Further, in chapter 24 we have it explicitly that Paul was being accused by the Jews about a cause of faith, whence their spokesman, accusing Paul, stated: "we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes, who also hath gone about to profane the temple". [Acts 24:5-6] It appears from these words that Paul was being accused about the faith. And that he appealed for this cause is clear, since one reads the following in chapter 25: "while he [Paul] answered for himself, Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended any thing at all. But Festus willing to do the Jews a pleasure answered Paul and said, 'Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of those things before me?' Then said Paul 'I stand at Caesar's judgement seat where I ought to be judged: to the Jews I have done no wrong as thou very well knowest. For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar". [Acts 25:8-11] And afterwards, speaking of the Jews who were accusing Paul, Festus said: "therefore, when they were come hither, without any delay on the morrow I sat on the judgement seat, and commanded the man to be brought forth. Against whom when the accusers stood up, they brought none accusation of such things as I supposed: But had certain questions against him of their own superstition and of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive. And because I doubted of such manner of questions, I asked him whether he would go to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these matters. But when Paul had appealed to be reserved unto the hearing of Augustus, I commanded him to be kept till I might send him to Caesar". [Acts 25:17-21] From these we gather two things. The first is that Paul appealed to Caesar with respect to the question which was in contention between Paul and the Jews. The second is that the question concerning which they contended was about the Christian faith. From these it follows that Paul appealed to Caesar for a cause of faith.